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Rent the Runway, almost perfect

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RENT THE RUNWAY

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Do you secretly long for a Badgley Mischka gown, Nicole Miller cocktail dress, or even an Elizabeth and James blazer, but can't afford the designer price tags? Rent The Runway is for you! With an inventory of over 50,000 dresses and accessories www.renttherunway.com is like having an endless closet.

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Rent The Runway offers a website featuring hundreds of dresses for any occasion. The concept is simple, after browsing, you simply select a style, a second size is included at no extra charge to insure perfect fit. The dress is delivered to your home including a pre-paid return package. Wear it, enjoy it, and return it in 4 to 8 days. Rent The Runway even takes care of dry cleaning.

The runway feature allows you to enter your height, age, and size to view pictures of actual women (not models) in Rent The Runway fashions. Customer reviews and photos are featured for each design to assist in finding the perfect dress.

The membership-based company was founded by two Harvard Business School graduates, Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Carter Fleiss, and launched in 2009. With dresses rented at 90% off retail, membership has grown to over 3.5 million. The company feels that everyone deserves a “Cinderella Experience”.

I was intrigued by Rent the Runway and decided to try the service for myself. I ordered two evening gowns for a black tie event, a Badgley Mischka black strapless peplum gown and a Nicole Miller illusion lace gown.

I scheduled the gowns to arrive on Friday, February 28, for an event on Sunday March 2. The dresses arrived beautifully packaged on hangers with a zippered garment bag. I immediately pulled the stunning dresses from the box to assess the fit. The Nicole Miller lace dress was stunning. Priced at $995 the rental charge was $80 with a complimentary back up size.

Both Nicole Miller dresses would have worked, with one exception, the dresses were too short. Hitting at my ankle, they were unwearable. I am about 5'6” and have never required extra length in an evening gown. I then tried the Badgley Mischka Peplum gown, equally as stunning, the dress had a bent prong on the nylon zipper and would not zip all the way up. I immediately attempted to call Rent the Runway, and was greeted with a message stating they were unavailable by phone and to try my call later. I called for over 48 hours and also emailed and received no response.

According to Rent the Runway, if you call within 24 hours of reciept, they will in most cases overnight an appropriate substitute. As I was unable to reach them, this didn't help me.

Fortunately, I had a back up dress that worked beautifully. I returned the dresses I rented , unworn in the prepaid postage envelopes provided by rent the runway.

I finally received an email back from Rent the runway apologizing for the inconvenience and providing a full refund , as credit to my account.

So, I decided to try it again! This time for a Moschino cocktail dress priced at $1295. The rental fee on the dress was about $45 including shipping and insurance. Scheduled to arrive Monday , by the end of the business day, the dress arrived around 3 pm. Again, beautifully packed on a hanger with a back up size included.

This time the fit, style , and quality were perfect.

Rent the Runway is an excellent resource for evening and cocktail dresses, with just a flew glitches. My advice would be to always have a back up dress, just in case. Also, pay close attention to other renter's comments as to fit, length comfort and fabric. Browse Rent the Runway styles at RenttheRunway.com

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